Professor & Associate Director Center for Health Disparities

Basic Sciences
Division of Microbiology
School of Medicine
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, CA 92350

Phone:(909) 558-9474
Fax:(909) 558-0196

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Research Interest

Dr. Casiano is Tenured Professor of Medicine of Microbiology, Molecular Genetics, and Medicine at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, and Associate Director of the LLU Center for Health Disparities and Molecular Medicine (CHDMM). He received bachelor and master degrees in biology from the University of Puerto Rico, and a PhD in microbiology from the University of California at Davis. He completed postdoctoral studies on the interplay between systemic autoimmunity, cell death, and cancer at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, under Dr. Eng M. Tan.  Dr. Casiano's research program at LLU is focused on the intersection of autoimmunity and cancer, with emphasis on the biology of cancer-associated autoantibodies and autoantigens.  His research has been funded over the past 20 years by the NIH, the National Medical Technology Test Bed/Department of the Army Medical Command, the CHDMM, and the School of Medicine.

A major area of research focus in Dr. Casiano’s lab is the contribution of the LEDGFp75/DFS70 autoantigen to chemotherapy resistance in prostate cancer (PCa), a malignancy that disproportionately affects African-American men and certain Hispanic/Latino populations. LEDGFp75/DFS70 is a transcription co-activator that has emerged recently as a novel stress oncoprotein and an essential human co-factor for HIV-1 integration. It has also recently attracted significant attention in the field of systemic autoimmunity as the target of a robust antinuclear autoantibody response (anti-DFS ANA) in some healthy individuals and patients with miscellaneous inflammatory conditions.  Dr. Casiano's group was among the first to implicate a stress survival role for LEDGFp75/DFS70 in PCa and chemoresistance.  Current projects include elucidating mechanisms by which LEDGFp75/DFS70 and its interacting partners promote PCa chemoresistance, designing novel strategies to target this protein, assessing LEDGFp75/DFS70 regulation by glucocorticoids and expression in racially diverse PCa, and investigating the biological and clinical significance of the anti-DFS autoantibodies. 

Another area of research focus is the profiling of autoantibody responses to tumor associated antigens (TAAs) in PCa, using immunoproteomic approaches. Current projects aim at characterizing autoantibody responses to metabolic proteins and human endogenous retroviral (HERV-k) proteins in racially diverse PCa patients.  The goals are to provide novel insights into race-related differences in immune recognition of tumors, and help develop, using precision oncology approaches, novel immunotherapeutic strategies to reduce PCa mortality disparities.

Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications:

  1. Mahler M, Andrade LE, Casiano CA, Malyavantham K, Fritzler MJ (2019). Anti-DFS70 antibodies: an update on our current understanding and their clinical usefulness. Expert Rev Clin Immunol 15:241-250.
  2. Woods-Burnham L, Cajigas-Du Ross CK, Love A, Basu A, Sanchez-Hernandez ES, Martinez SR, Ortiz-Hernández GL, Stiel L, Durán AM, Wilson C, Montgomery S, Roy S, and Casiano CA (2018). Glucocorticoids Induce Stress Oncoproteins Associated with Therapy-Resistance in African American and European American Prostate Cancer Cells. Scientific Reports 8:15063.
  3. Cajigas-Du Ross C, Martinez SR, Woods-Burnham L, Duran AM, Roy S, Basu A, Ramirez JA, Ortiz-Hernandez GL, Rios-Colon L, Chirsev E, Sanchez-Hernandez ES, Soto U, Greco C, Boucheix C, Chen X, Unternaehrer J, Wang C, and Casiano CA (2018). RNA sequencing reveals upregulation of a transcriptomic program associated with stemness in metastatic prostate cancer cells selected for taxane resistance.  Oncotarget 9:30363-30384.
  4. Woods-Burnham L, Stiel L, Wilson C, Ruckle HR, Thompson RA, Montgomery S, Casiano CA (2018). Prostate cancer knowledge and PSA levels in African American men following physician consultations: effectiveness of conversations.  American J. Men’s Health 12:751-759.
  5. Rios-Colon L, Cajigas-Du Ross C, Basu A, Elix C, Alicea-Polanco I, Sanchez TW, Radhakrisnan V, Chen CS, and Casiano CA (2017).  Targeting the stress oncoprotein LEDGF/p75 to sensitize chemoresistant prostate cancer cells to taxanes.  Oncotarget 8:24915-24931.   
  6. Vázquez-Del Mercado M, Gómez-Bañuelos E, Navarro-Hernández RE, Pizano-Martinez O, Chavarria-Avila E, Andrade-Ortega L, Saavedra MA, Jara LJ, Medrano-Ramírez G, Enriconi-Dos Anjos L, Basu A, Albesa R, Mahler M, and Casiano CA (2017). Detection of Autoantibodies to DSF70/LEDGFp75 in Mexican Hispanics Using Multiple Complementary Assay Platforms. AutoImmunity Highlights 8:1
  7. Sanchez TW, Zhang G, Dai L, Li J, Mirshahidi S, Wall NR, Wilson C, Yates C, Montgomery S, Zhang JY, and Casiano CA (2016) Immunoproteomic profiling of autoantibodies in African American men with prostate cancer: evidence for an autoantibody response to glycolysis and plasminogen-associated proteins. Molecular and Cellular Proteomics 15:3564-80.   
  8. Ochs RL, Mahler M, Basu A, Rios-Colon L, Sanchez TW, Andrade LE, Fritzler MJ, and Casiano CA (2016) The significance of autoantibodies to DFS70/LEDGFp75 in health and disease: integrating basic science with clinical understanding. Clinical and Experimental Medicine 16:273-93.   
  9. Dai L, Li J, Lei N, Xing M, Sanchez TW, Casiano CA*, and Zhang JY (2016).  Using serological proteomics analysis to identify anti-nucleophosmin 1 autoantibody in sera from European American and African American prostate cancer patients as potential biomarker.  Prostate 76:1375-86. *shared senior authorship     
  10. Basu A, Cajigas-Du Ross C, Rios-Colon L, Daniels T, Leoh LS, Mediavilla-Varela M, Rojas H, Banerjee H, Martinez SR, Acevedo-Martinez S, and Casiano CA (2016). LEDGF/p75 overexpression attenuates oxidative stress-induced necrosis and upregulates ERp57/PDIA3/GRp58 in prostate cancer. PLoS One 11:e0146549.